Review : B.O.B - Strange Clouds
BillboardOn his debut album, "B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray" (2010), the Atlanta transplant pinned his rap skills to the sounds of mainstream pop, garnering him his first Billboard Hot 100 No. 1, "Nothin' On You," featuring Bruno Mars. Two years later, B.o.B further blends the lines between genres with the top of the charts -- and only the top -- in his sights.
On his sophomore studio album "Strange Clouds," B.o.B pulls aspirations from across all boards as always -- production by Dr. Luke and Ryan Tedder, collaborations with Taylor Swift and Nicki MInaj -- but also sings along to the plucks of his own acoustic guitar and takes a seat behind the sound boards. B.o.B produced five tracks on the full-length opus and executive produced alongside Jim Jonsin and T.I.
Lyrically, B.o.B fills in "Strange Clouds'" bass-heavy soundscapes with the lessons learned between soul searching and living the luxurious life....full text
Hip Hop DXB.o.B. has never been the one to shy away from discovering new musical horizons, and that approach has largely been beneficial to his career thus far. Unfortunately, this same inkling for “different” has proven costly for Strange Clouds, a perplexing project that expands on the popular aesthetics of the new mainstream rather than honing in on what has made him a successful and likewise respected artist from Decatur, Georgia.
To be fair, B.o.B. turning his ambitions toward a more Pop-oriented album is one that many Rap artists have done, whether it be personal choice or label insistence. However, the course in which he pursues this venture falls far short of what would be appropriate for someone in his position. The most obvious example, “Both Of Us,” highlights an inspirational record that based on tone and execution would make more sense on a Taylor Swift album as her hook becomes the focal point of the song. The album’s recent single, “So Good,” also submerges itself into charismatic Top 40 territory. Void of any real purpose aside from singing along to the chorus, it’s arguably one chord away from Kidz Bop Vol. 22. Disappointment comes full circle on (no pun intended) “Circles,” a lollipop record that makes you wonder whether B.o.B. is even willing to acknowledge the fans that embraced him on the mixtape Cloud 9....full text
Av ClubLike Kanye West, B.o.B. broadly dismisses his haters even as he seems to internalize every insult, and with its emphasis on the pressures and temptations of celebrity, Strange Clouds sometimes feels like his own Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, though it’s not nearly as unflinching as West’s tell-all.
The album is at its best when at its fluffiest. With its “Empire State Of Mind” piano and unabashedly cheerfully “na nah na nah na nah” chorus, “So Good” is as earnestly catchy as anything on The Adventures Of Bobby Ray, but Strange Clouds is ultimately too weighed down by joy-killing self-importance to match that debut’s hit ratio. Unfortunately for B.o.B.’s pop fans, this record may not be his last assertion of creative independence. “After Strange Clouds,” he raps on “Ray Bands,” “I’mma drop my rock album.”
Soul CulturePreviously on The Adventures of B.o.B aka Bobby Ray, Atlanta rapper/singer B.o.B was busy claiming the many plaudits for what was a superb year for him back in 2010. Emerging from under the tutorship of DJ Drama and southern kingpin T.I., Bobby Ray broke away from the limited expectations many had of his career and became a household name thanks to a charming persona plus a clutch of monumental Hip Hop records that tugged at the hearts of daytime radio’s core audience.
Now a name which the masses instantly gravitate to, B.o.B‘s next adventure finds him tackling the much dreaded second album, which has claimed many careers due to the difficulty of matching the lofty heights of one’s previous efforts. How will his sophomore effort Strange Clouds fare in the challenge?
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